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The History of Psychology
Transcript of The History of Psychology
Scientists and philosophers begin questioning the beliefs of the catholic church. They challenged the idea that behavior was caused from an external source rather than an internal source. Scientific and intellectual advances would eventually lead to the birth of psychology in the 1800's.
Wilhelm Wundt and his pupils founded a branch of psychology called Structuralism. Structuralism involved two branches: objective senses (includes touch, smell, sight, taste, and hearing) and subjective feelings which included emotional responses. Structuralists believed that the human mind worked based on these two branches. All data was qualitative and collected through examination. Although structuralism was not scientific, it would lead to the continuation of psychology today.
Following structuralism, functionalism was the idea that one would adapt and learn from their experiences. William James, who published what many consider the first modern psychology textbook, was one of the founders of functionalism and convinced that experience cannot be broken, ten years after Wundt. Unlike structuralism, functionalism included studies on behavior in laboratories and questioned "What do certain behaviors and mental processes accomplish for the person (or animal)?". Functionalists proposed that behavior was based on experience. If a certain behavior succeeded in achieving the results that lead to what one wanted, then the behavior would be repeated in order to produce the same results. However, functionalism is not considered a natural science as it could only be observed and not measured.
Created by German scientists Max Wertheimer,Kurt Koffka, and Wolfgang Köhler during the 1920's in response to Wundt's structuralism, the Gestalt branch psychology was a school of thought based upon the idea that the whole of perception was larger than the sum of its parts. In other words, the mind gives shape or "Gestalt" to the parts of perception while also filling in the gaps depending on the context. Gestalt psychology also states that learning is an active and purposeful undertaking rather than a mechanical action as described by functionalism. In addition, Gestalt maintains that learning is mostly accomplished through insight and reorganization of perceptions that allow an individual to solve a problem.
Socrates began psychological thought with the use of introspection or "knowing thyself."
Plato, a student of Socrates, recorded Socrates's wisdom and studied his psychological thought, primarily introspection.
Aristotle, one of Plato's students, further continued Socrates's and Plato's psychological studies. Aristotle's view on psychology and the mind was more scientific and he believed the mind and human behavior followed certain laws.
Europeans believed that psychological disorders were caused by demons as a punishment for the sins of the possessed. During this time tests were conducted to test for possession but almost always resulted in the death of the accused.
After contracting an eye disorder from looking at the sun too much for his study of after images, Gustav Fechner resigned from the fields of science. However, after his recovery, he began studying the mind and it's relation to the body. Fechner is known as one of the founders of modern experimental psychology and his clearest contribution is how psychology could become a quantitative science as the mind was vulnerable to measurement and mathematical treatment. For example, Fechner constructed the "Golden Section Hypothesis" and asked multiple observers to choose the "best" and "worst" rectangle. Results showed that the most appealing or "best" rectangle to the eye were the ones with a ratio between 3:5 and 5:8. This became known as the "Golden Section".
John B. Watson believed studying the mind's consciousness in humans and animals is unscientific. He explained that only oneself can understand one's consciousness and impossible for others to know. He instead believed only observable behavior can be studied scientifically.
1924 AD Psychoanalytic
Created by Sigmund Freud in the late 1880's, psychoanalysis focused on the unconscious mind and the reasons behind certain kinds of mental ailments. Freud cited repressed urges and memories as the cause of irregular behavior and ailments and helped his patients through examinations of their past and traumatic events in their lives. In this, he developed what his patients would go on to term the "talking cure". His theories by themselves exaggerated the influence of unconscious thoughts and urges, but he laid the foundation of psychoanalysis for later psychologists such as Erik Erikson. Erikson would use this basis to go on to formulate his own theories about individual social growth, which described different stages in life, like those in a videogame, that an individual, depending on their "proficiency" in that stage, would emerge from, feeling either a sense of mastery (ego strength) or inadequacy. This idea remains relevant even in modern day psychology.
Modern day psychology focuses on sociocultural, biological, and cognitive levels of analysis. This split into three main branches came about in the 1950's and 60's with the advent of more advanced technology and ways to measure and observe both the mind and brain.
-Biological psychology, or the study of the brain and how it affects our mind focuses on how different brain conditions and kinds of damage affect our thought processes as well as individual differences between different people's mental processes from a genetic point of view.
-Cognitive psychology, based on observing mental processes such as memory and emotion, came about around the 1950's. This shift from measuring observable behavior to observing the mind and mental processes is known as the "cognitive revolution" and was a result of technological advances giving us a means of observing the brain. These psychologists work in tandem with neuroscientists and anthropologists to determine how our memories and emotions affect our behavior
-Sociocultural psychology focuses on how our sociological environment affects our thoughts and behaviors. Although there have been collaborations between anthropologists and psychologists for years, the study of culture has largely stayed within the boundaries of anthropology. However, in recent years, psychologists have begun studying the nature of individuals within a social context as opposed to individual people.
John B. Watson
*-not to scale